Frequently
Asked Questions

How much does it cost?

Financial planning costs around $6,000 – $7,500 for the initial engagement. 50% is due upfront, with the remaining 50% due at the end. Our Wealth Management services are based on a percentage of the assets managed, capped at $15,000/year with a $250,000 investment minimum. You can find detail on fees on the respective service pages.

What can I expect during our first meeting?

You can expect us to ask many questions and actively listen to your responses. We’ll share a bit about the practice, how we work with client families and answer any questions you might have. We’ll then mutually determine the next right step: a handshake to move forward or some time to think it over. Every client is looking for something different; we want to be sure we’re a fit before we move forward.

Where are meetings held?

It’s up to you. Meetings are held virtually via Zoom, in our downtown conference space here in Salem, Oregon, or in the homes of our client families anywhere in the Willamette Valley.

What is the process like?

Our process will factor in your financial numbers and your heart’s values. Through every step of our work together, you can expect a process designed to explore your perspectives, aspirations, and finances so that we can co-create a financial plan that is unique to your life. 

For our Financial Planning clients, momentum is key once we start. Each of the four meetings is 60-90 minutes long, and working to complete the initial process within 12-16 weeks is ideal. It is a collaborative process that we both commit to. Once our initial engagement concludes, Financial Planning clients can access an hourly arrangement with us. Some connect quarterly to work through implementation together; others come back once a year. Everyone is different, so we designed this arrangement to suit your needs.

For our Wealth Management clients, we begin by working through the transfer process, which typically takes about two weeks. We then collaborate to determine the best time to pursue the financial planning process. For some, it’s right away; for others, we may wait a few months. Within the first year of our partnership is the best time to walk through the financial planning process to have a solid foundation for future decision-making and proactive planning. 

Do you want more information on the financial planning process and what is involved? This resource from Investopedia hits the highlights.

What is it like to be a client?

Our client engagement standards provide insight into what it’s like to be a part of our client family. They outline our principles, values, what we promise to deliver in exchange for your trust, and what we need from you to make this engagement as fulfilling and valuable as possible.

Our Wealth Management Client Engagement Standards

Our Financial Planning Client Engagement Standards

Who is a fit?

Most of our client families are public employees in Oregon 5-10 years from retirement. They’ve waded through OPSRP, IAP, OSGP, and the myriad other acronyms that come with our PERS system. They are ready for a holistic approach to planning their retirement.

The second most common client demographic we serve is those who are retired. They’re happy with their lives, always growing, learning, and looking for ways to ensure they are living lives of contentment, not complacency. We have a process designed specifically for retirees to help explore the opportunities and challenges unique to them, including tax planning, legacy planning, and developing a philanthropic philosophy.

If that doesn’t describe you, we can still work together. While we have expertise in the Oregon PERS system and retirement planning, our process applies whether you’re 35, 55, or 95.

Who isn’t a fit?

If you’re looking for tips on the next hot stock, measure success solely on your portfolio’s performance, or have no interest in discussing life beyond the numbers, we probably aren’t a match for one another. 

Engaging in a financial planning process is a commitment from both of us. Just as tackling estate planning requires a certain mindset, the season has to be right to get the most out of financial planning.

If our fees are prohibitive, or you’re looking for an hourly engagement, you might check out the XY Planning Network Directory, NAPFA, or the Garrett Planning Network.

Is there a minimum amount of money I need to work with you?

For our Wealth Management Services, the investment minimum is $250,000. For Financial Planning only, the minimum is typically around $6,000. You can find detail on the respective service pages. If you’re wondering how advisors typically charge, this article provides a helpful high-level overview.

Financial Planner vs. Financial Advisor: What’s the difference?

There is no difference – neither requires any professional training or experience. If you’re blown away by that fact, you’re not the only one. It’s one of the most stunning pieces of information we share when we speak on financial planning.

This industry is full of titles and acronyms. When you’re looking for a financial planner, we encourage you to hold these two titles as your litmus test: 1) Certified Financial Planner (it takes two years of study, a grueling exam, and 6,000 hours of client experience before you can call yourself a CFP Professional), and 2) Fee-only (this means the advisor does not receive commissions on specific mutual funds). 

Whether working with us or another firm, we firmly believe everyone should have a solid financial plan. If you want to learn more, listen to a podcast where Brenna provides tips on finding the best planner for your unique needs.

How is the tax planning you offer different from what my accountant does?

Tax planning involves distilling general information on settled tax law and understanding how it applies to your unique situation. This often includes projecting the impact of potential tax strategies moving forward. This is what we offer.

Tax advice is given by a federally authorized tax practitioner, meaning an individual licensed under federal law to practice before the IRS (CPAs, attorneys, enrolled agents, enrolled actuaries, etc.). It often involves case-specific strategies, ensuring compliance with federal and state tax laws, and filing tax returns. This is not what we offer.

Brenna is a Certified Tax Specialist™, adding a unique perspective to her CFP® studies to collaborate with you and your tax professional on proactive tax planning.

What do you mean by fee-only?

A fee-only financial advisor is compensated directly by their clients for financial advice and ongoing investment management. We do not receive commissions or kickbacks from financial products, which minimizes conflict and requires us to act as fiduciaries (i.e., we act in your best interest). This is the most transparent and objective compensation structure available.

Do I need an advisor?

We believe every one of our clients is capable of making smart financial decisions when the options are clear. A financial advisor can help to clarify your options, keep you accountable and be proactive. It’s easy to document your plan on paper, but if someone isn’t in your corner looking out for your financial well-being, it’s easy to get off track. It’s about creating a to-do list, getting it done, and then doing it again – life evolves, and so does your plan. Our goal is to give you confidence in your financial decisions and free up your time, enabling you to live a better, more confident life. Check out our blog on how to choose the best advisor for you.